YouTube and Instagram unhappy with Flemish investment obligation

YouTube and Instagram are not pleased with the Flemish government's plans to subject them to an investment obligation in Flanders, media minister Benjamin Dalle (CD&V) said on Thursday in the Flemish Parliament.

The Flemish government agreed two weeks ago to extend the Flemish incentive scheme for media content. The new regulation aims to ensure a doubling of Flemish films and series investments.

TV distributors Telenet and Proximus and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Streamz will have to contribute more. The scheme will also cover video platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. The latter will pay a percentage on their local turnover ranging from 2 to a maximum of 4 per cent, or - like the other players - can opt for an annual lump sum of 6 million euros to the Flemish Audiovisual Fund.

The government has not yet submitted the draft decree, yet it has already led to a debate in the Media Committee. Dalle said video platform services were already laking their feelings known. When he visited San Francisco last week, he spoke with Meta (Facebook, Instagram) and Google (YouTube), who formulated "all kinds of objections".

"The video-sharing platforms are mad at us because we will be the first to make them contribute in this way," he said. According to him, the internet giants think Flanders doesn't have the right to impose such an investment obligation. "But we are going to substantiate it legally," he said. "I hope it all passes the legal test in Europe. We have good arguments."


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